Answering Some Ire Fire

One of my recent points, and one that drew some ire fire, was my contention that liberalism is inherently and tyrannically coercive, and that liberals, by advocating the programs of liberalism, are thereby advocating coercion.

Not being an anarchist, I believe that some forms of coercion are good and necessary, but because I also believe that cops, legislators, judges, and SWAT teams are made up of sinners, it is absolutely necessary for us to know that we have warrant from the Almighty God before we try to make anybody do anything. Before fining someone, or flogging him, or putting him in jail, or exiling him, or executing him, which pretty much exhausts the options, we had better know that what we are doing is authorized by God.If it is, well and good. If it is not, then we are abusing someone created in the image of God, and God is going to hold us accountable for it. We should either coerce with a clean conscience (and an open Bible), or not at all.

Liberals do not like this form of argument, because they want to pretend that there is nothing whatever coercive about what they are doing. They are not taxing certain individuals at abusive rates while simultaneously threatening the inadequately cooperative with imprisonment. No, what they are actually doing is that they are “asking” the “wealthy” to pay their “fair share.” Oh, since you put it that way . . .

Look. If you don’t do what they say, at some point in the proceedings, men with guns are going to show up at your house. I do not have a problem with this if those men with guns are going after a pedophile, or rapist, or a murderer. Go ahead. Coerce away. If you need them, I will provide you with the verses that show that God approves of this kind of coercion. But if they are showing up at a man’s house because he got tired of having bureaucrats pee a bunch of his money into the Potomac, then something has gone wrong somewhere. The liberal idea of democracy is three coyotes and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

They don’t want any limiting principle, in principle. Thus far, and no farther, is not a phrase that they like to find in the mouths of the voting public. It reminds them too much of that flag with the rattlesnake on it.

But in order to have a genuine limiting principle, one that works, it has to be grounded in the work and words of the God who made us all. One nation, under God.

So they abuse language to hide the coercive nature of their project. And one of their signature moves is to turn the tables on anyone who identifies and objects to their coercions. It is “coercive” to identify what they are doing. It hurts their feelings. Well, tough.

I am going to appeal to Girard here, but I need to say that the outset that Girard tries to throw all his valuable insights away by refusing to embrace the propitiatory nature of Christ’s sacrifice. But even though he tries to throw those insights away, I will not do so.

One of the things that Girard noticed about the Scriptures, not to mention human history, is that oppression is always respectable, and that the victim who protests that oppression is not respectable. He is told to shut up. Persecutors always feel persecuted. The oppressor feels oppressed, and is highly indignant when the victim won’t shut up. When the victim writes a psalm of lament, he is not playing the dutiful role that he was assigned. The victim is therefore the troublemaker, and must be dealt with.

One time Jesus told His interlocutors that they were trying to kill Him. They said He was nuts.

“Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?” (John 7:19-20).

Jesus knew the play that was being run on Him, and the people running the play did not know.

It is the same kind of thing here. Liberals want to stay respectable. This is why their threats are couched in the interrogative. Let’s “ask” everybody to do this, and haul them off if they don’t. They want to draw a veil over their bloody and violent ways. If anyone pulls the veil back, then he is the troublemaker. Such a man is — to borrow the words of Ahab — a troubler of Israel (1 Kings 18:17).

Wanting to leave people to their lawful pursuits is not coercive. And neither is it coercive to identify those who will not — for love or money — leave them alone.

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Jeremy Larson
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Robert
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Robert

Whi is Girard?

Paulette Murphy
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Paulette Murphy

“…he got tired of having bureaucrats pee a bunch of his money into the Potomac…”
LOVE that!

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

It’s odd seeing someone who obviously feels persecuted, and who has been accused of scapegoating, answering that by saying “yeah, but they’re persecuting!” … Nor does this post begin to answer the charge, which is not that it is wrong to claim that some liberals in some areas they care about coerce–as if it would be wrong to point out that we are all enslaved by the libido dominandi. The charge is that you are using sin as an excuse for offering pagan sacrifices, and that this is manifested in your use of “they always…” style statements (which this post does… Read more »

Jon
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Jon

It’s improtant to remember that liberalism exists as part of a narrative about hte West.  This narrative says that we’ve come a long way from the ‘dark ages’ when people were ignorant and barbaric.  We’ve attained civilization and enlightenment, but we can still go further.  Because we have such ideals, in fact, we can go much further until we meet them.  A “city of man” is attainable according to this narrative.  It will not be bland and oppressive, but full of diversity and flexible to the degree possible.  Certain things have to be done to get there.  We of course… Read more »

timothy
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timothy

Pastor, please update your post to link to the appropriate “Girard” .
 

BJ
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BJ

Pastor Wilson, You like the word “coercion.” I like the word “force.” I feel like I might be splitting hairs here, but coerce has a very negative connotation (fine!). Not all of what a government does is negative. As you mention, stopping sinners from sinning (ie murder, rape, etc.) against innocents is not coercion so to speak. Now, you are absolutely correct that all government is conducted by force. The question is what is the right force (non-negative connotation)? As far as I am concerned, the Christian worldview is the only coherent basis for using government force. All other force… Read more »

timothy
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timothy

Matthew,

Could you please lay out your argument in logical form without the rhetoric? I am truly trying to follow what you are saying, but your “argument” style does not help.
 
It is clear that you disagree with Pastor Wilson. It is not clear why you do. I can go through your last post and dissect what you are “arguing” (arguing in the logical sense, not “having a spat” sense) but that is hard work that I think is incumbent upon you–the person making the case–to do.

Grace and Peace to you.
 
 

timothy
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timothy

Jon,
 
This narrative you speak of, is it yours? Or are you just relating it?
 
thx
 
 

Seth B.
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Seth B.

Matt is there anything Pr. Wilson that you will actually learn from and won’t always disagree with?

timothy
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timothy

Mathew   Here are the logical elements of your last post. (I may have missed some) –     1. The charge is that you are using sin as an excuse for offering pagan sacrifice. (me: this is your conclusion)   –   Your supporting predicates in support of your conclusion are:   –     2. this is manifested in your use of “they always…” style statements (which this post does not avoid),   —     3. in imputation of motives,   —   4. in using your disagreement with (common) liberal means as a justification to refuse… Read more »

jay niemeyer
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jay niemeyer

“The charge is that you are using sin as an excuse for offering pagan sacrifices” Can somebody please translate what this means? Oh, here we go… “this is manifested in your use of “they always…” style statements (which this post does not avoid), in imputation of motives, in using your disagreement with (common) liberal means as a justification to refuse to consider an end they are offering, in the responses your post generated, which were mocking liberals (when the articles mocked actually help give answers to some of the problems in the healthy movement), and in your use of these… Read more »

jay niemeyer
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jay niemeyer

What Timothy said! And this is not the first time either.

timothy
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timothy

For the sake of clarity, in my response to Mathew above, I first posted his points in the order he presents them. That happens in the first series 1 through 12.  I then re-arrange his argument to list his premises in order, followed by the conclusion. This is in the second series 1 through 8.
 


 

Upon seeing Mathew’s thought process, I am having serious concerns about his mental health. I ask your prayerful guidance on this.
 
 

jay niemeyer
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jay niemeyer

And Seth, do not ask that!    Because Matthew will jump in here and provide a surfeit of examples demonstrating the times where he did, in part, agree with a word or two in the middle of twenty paragraphs of desperate disagreement; thereby negating any criticism of his incessant and exhausting nitpickery. Of course, nitpicking would not be so trying if they did not sound so highfalutin … and if they actually made sense.
(Wait for it….. )

timothy
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timothy

Upon some prayer and thought, I don’t think (nor know) that Mathew is mentally ill. Here is why.
 


 
 

 
 
I have seen and participated in this argument pattern before; I have presented these types of argument myself (I was much better at it, btw {to my shame}). 
 

This is the argument pattern of sin.
 


 

 
This is the crack addict justifying why you must give her $20.00 for the purse that was just stolen as she was on her way to buy bread for her children.
 


 

 
This is the adulterer blaming her for his infidelity.
 


 

 
This is ‘The Reverend’  blaming the Christian for being divisive.
 


 
 

This is Mathew….

Jon
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Jon

Timothy, in the interest of perspicuity, the narrative I presented is not something that I own, but that I recognize.  I think I quoted Spengler, who in “The Decline of the West” spoke of Western coercion….he talked about how early Christianity was something thrown out there for people to take or leave, in the tradition of Jesus, until the powers that be took hold of it.  Then it became a set of imperatives to be enforced, culminating in the great Kantian imperative which some of us still recognize.  Then, it ends in statism: government tells us what’s good and what’s… Read more »

timothy
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timothy

Jon,
Thank you. Your post made it clear that you where just informing us. Your sentence “Certain things have to be done to get there.” made me want to make sure of that. (:

Katecho
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Matthew N. Petersen is outraged!  Incensed!  How dare Wilson describe liberalism!  For some reason Petersen wishes to pretend that we don’t know what liberalism stands for, and that it can’t be generalized and rejected.  Liberalism is apparently too elusive to ever be criticized.  Classic pomo deconstruction diversion tactic if there ever was one.                                                                                                                                        Christians need to realize that when the establishment unrepentant heart of sin is confronted, it won’t matter how cautiously, lovingly, charitably, or generously you make your approach (see Lot offering his daughters to the Sodomites and notice how they interpreted his gesture, Gen 19:9).  Expect outright… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Wilson wrote:

“oppression is always respectable, and that the victim who protests that oppression is not respectable”

This is an interesting concept.  It may explain why the unborn are the perfect target of liberalism.  They don’t protest.
                                                                                                                                       
Jon wrote:

“It’s a secular version of theonomy or dominionism,”

This is a good observation.  The liberal knows what sort of world they want, and they aren’t ashamed to use any power and force available to them to get it.  They will use guilt and shame (or worse) to discourage others from pursuing a different kind of world.

timothy
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timothy

This is Mathew….
 

This was Timothy. Too often,  it still is. Grace and Peace.
 

Aaron Richmond
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Aaron Richmond

Howdy, Matt. You write: It’s odd seeing someone who obviously feels persecuted, and who has been accused of scapegoating, answering that by saying “yeah, but they’re persecuting!” I hope you’ll allow me to suggest that charity might entail puzzling over this thing that seems odd to you before comparing Doug to Luther on one of his anti-semitic days. I take it that you mean Doug’s reply is following a tit-for-tat mentality in which he feels justified in demonizing others because they’re demonizing him. Well, maybe. But could it be that he’s responding to your charge of scapegoating by laboring to… Read more »

Aaron Richmond
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Aaron Richmond

Well, shucks. Trying again after the quote: .luaP I hope you’ll allow me to suggest that charity might entail puzzling over this thing that seems odd to you before comparing Doug to Luther on one of his anti-semitic days. I take it that you mean Doug’s reply is following a tit-for-tat mentality in which he feels justified in demonizing others because they’re demonizing him. Well, maybe. But could it be that he’s responding to your charge of scapegoating by laboring to show exactly why he puts a certain amount of blame on coercive liberals? deirrub How much blame? Again, as… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

You refer to “them” many times in this post, but who are “they”? Liberals do not like this form of argument, because they want to pretend that there is nothing whatever coercive about what they are doing. They are not taxing certain individuals at abusive rates while simultaneously threatening the inadequately cooperative with imprisonment. No, what they are actually doing is that they are “asking” the “wealthy” to pay their “fair share.” Oh, since you put it that way . . . Your problem here is that you don’t understand what liberals believe or why they believe it.  A liberal… Read more »

Katecho
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Aaron Richmond wrote: “If idolatrous coercion really does lie at the heart of consistent liberalism, then to love a liberal includes exposing their lies.” Well said.  Very reasonable comment.  The issue is not whether Petersen knows liberal exceptions to the kinds of things Wilson describes.  That’s irrelevant when addressing the -ism as a whole.  For example, there could conceivably be some liberal who thinks the government should be smaller, but liberalism has hitched itself to the State for its power.  See Pelosi and Reid, etc.  Small government liberals (if there are any) don’t carry sway with those liberals of actual… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Matt wrote: “A liberal would readily acknowledge that e.g. paying taxes is “coercive”, insofar that it is mandated by law and you will get in trouble for not doing it.” Actually, Harry Reid went on at length in this interview pretending that taxes are voluntary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7mRSI8yWwg Reid has a reputation as a brazen liar though.                                                                                                                                               Matt continues: “Well yes, and if we lived in Rushdoonyland and didn’t do what “they” say, then at some point the guns come out.  What exactly is being proven here?” Matt seems to be confused about Doug’s position on the role of the State,… Read more »

Ben Bowman
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“Persecutors always feel persecuted. The oppressor feels oppressed”
This reminds me of every “war on Christmas” segment I’ve seen on fox news. 
I don’t know what the North American church would do with actual persecution. 

Jon
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Jon

Ben, you raise an interesting point.  We’ve not seen real persecuation yet.  What would we do in the event that it were to occur?  Could we survive it?  We already scream and cry when society doesn’t go along with Christiantiy.  What on earth would we do if we were in the position of the earliest Christians who feared for their very lives?

Luke Nieuwsma
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Luke Nieuwsma

I think part of Matt Peterson’s frustration comes from the fact that Pastor Wilson hasn’t backed up his claim about the general coercive nature of liberalism with a large foundation of individual examples.  And to that point, Pastor Wilson, it might be helpful if you provided some links to, say, the liberal coercion involved in forcing gas stations to buy gas with ethanol, or the merciless regulations which the EPA has been churning out against the energy industry during Obama’s reign, or Mich. Obama’s weighty war against obesity and the cases where law enforcement have raided stores in search of… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Ben Bowman wrote: “Persecutors always feel persecuted. The oppressor feels oppressed” This reminds me of every “war on Christmas” segment I’ve seen on fox news.  I don’t know what the North American church would do with actual persecution. This is something to consider, and Christians should take caution not to overreact in either direction.  For example, is it the North American church running the story on the “war on Christmas”, or is it Fox News?  There is a difference.  As another example, when Rachel Held Evans wags her finger at Christians over the phrase “Happy Holidays”, is it because Christians… Read more »

Bill Hickman
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Bill Hickman

Doug – you’re stuck in a mode of thinking called the “myth of ownership.” You should read the book by the same title. Let’s do a thought experiment – say you and I ship out on a dinghy and get stranded on an unowned island in the Pacific. Presumably we agree that, as long as the island was completely unowned when we arrived, you and I would both have access to the entire island. But if one day I forcibly exclude you from one whole side of the island claiming it as my own, what would you think of that?… Read more »

Robert
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Robert

Liberals want the world to look like Star Trek.

timothy
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timothy

Bill Hickman and Timothy are stranded on a desert isle.
 

 
Bill, being industrious, builds a shelter , a garden, fishing tools and the rudiments of animal husbandry. Timothy, seeing the fruits of Bill’s labor quotes Bill Hickman’s post  when he takes Bill’s property from him.
 

 
Didn’t John Locke cover this stuff about 300 years ago?
 
 

Matt
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Matt

Doug said repeatedly that he isn’t opposed to coercion against things that are rightfully in the jurisdiction of the State, such as murder.

In other words, Doug isn’t opposed to coercion against things he thinks ought to be coerced against.  What he and you seem to miss is that this renders his whole “it’s coercive” critique against anything he doesn’t agree with incoherent.  Who cares if it is coercive.

Dan
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Dan

Well said, Luke Nieuwsma.

wtrsims
Member

Matt said: In other words, Doug isn’t opposed to coercion against things he thinks ought to be coerced against.  What he and you seem to miss is that this renders his whole “it’s coercive” critique against anything he doesn’t agree with incoherent.  Who cares if it is coercive. This seems a truism.  Of course Doug says that coercion is correct in certain areas and that he wants to coerce the things that he thinks ought to be coerced.  No one disagrees with his own held belief.  The argument, as I take it, is about what ought to be coerced–that which… Read more »

jay niemeyer
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jay niemeyer

I’m afraid your charitable take of Mr Petersen falls short, Mr Nieuwsma. Far from thinking Doug is wiser than he, Matthew seems to think Doug Wilson is among the most foolish – and dangerous – bloggers on earth. I mean, how else does one explain the constant hounding critique and the use of terms like “Sacred Violence”  and “Pagan Sacrifices”, etc. to describe what Wilson is saying?

Dan
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Dan

Katecho, good point about Christians pointing out clear examples of the grip of political correctness over our culture.  The Left doesn’t like to have this pointed out, because then they’d have to put forth cogent arguments for their positions.  It seems they’d much prefer to “correct” our speech than to engage the actual issues.  As Doug, and others, have commented, it’s the Left’s way of attempting to shut us up.  But we are accountable to God, not to the Left.

Dan
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Dan

Jay, I also agree that Mr Petersen’s comments are way over the top, and way over the line.  I think Mr Petersen needs to stop attempting to act like a modern prophet who’s calling down the wrath upon Pastor Wilson.

Matthew N. Petersen
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Matthew N. Petersen

Timothy: … Let me state succinctly what I think is the problem, and what I do not think is the problem: It is not that Pr. Wilson thinks liberals behave poorly. They often do–as do conservatives. Indeed, it is a truism that liberals behave poorly, not because they are “liberal”, but because they are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. What is problematic is that his response to “liberals” seems nearly identical to Rachel Held Evan’s response to “conquer and colonize”, which is a problematic response not because she’s not right–as if only if Pr. Wilson had done poor exegesis her… Read more »

Bill Hickman
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Bill Hickman

Timothy –
A: I stand on a piece of land. B: I begin working on a piece of land. C: I own the land.  How did you get from B to C? I can understand why a person would naturally own the fruits of his labor, but why would his work entitle him to the land itself? I think it’s a non-sequitur.

timothy
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timothy

Bill,
People can and do improve land. Without ownership of it, then there is no point in investing ones time in improving it. I am going to leave the discussion at that. I have a government education and I do not know enough Locke to comment with authority.


 

 

Katecho
Member

Petersen is still posed in full guilt infliction mode, but he’s likely to pull a muscle.  Petersen seems to be saying that there is essentially no moral distinction which can be made between the philosophy of the liberal and of the conservative– as if all are equally valid on their own.  Petersen seems to allow that the only criticism is that which applies evenly to all fallen offspring of Adam and Eve.  Criticism must be “fair”.  In other words, Petersen is drinking from the fountain of egalitarianism.  Unless he is singling out Doug Wilson, of course.  In which case he… Read more »

Virgil Hurt
Member

Doug, I have learned a lot from Girard. I never took him as a bastion of Christian orthodoxy but was interested in where he denies the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ? I have read I See Satan Fall Like Lightning and Scapegoat and don’t remember it there.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Or put it this way Timothy: I think Pr. Wilson is acting how you think I’m acting. If you’re right about how I’m acting, whether I am in fact correct and Pr. Wilson is acting wrong doesn’t justify me. We may well both be wrong. Likewise in my charge: I believe liberals often act wrong. I have given several examples on previous threads: PC is often used as a straightjacket. The Huffington Post acted vilely in its treatment of senators who oppose the rape exception for abortion, particularly, regarding Mourdock. Though liberals are right on global warming, they often do… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Katecho: Again, stop sitting in the seat of the scornful. 

Petersen seems to be saying that there is essentially no moral distinction which can be made between the philosophy of the liberal and of the conservative– as if all are equally valid on their own. 

This is simply a lie. Again, I warn you: If you continue to lie about others, and scorn then, Jesus Christ will lie about you, and scorn you (with the crooked he shows himself crooked). I would suggest you repent now.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Finally, no I don’t mind if Pr. Wilson rebukes people. The issue is that he is not rebuking anyone–especially, not anyone listening. He’s coddling his listeners, and scapegoating “them”.

Andy Persons
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Andy Persons

Matthew,
1. Your primary objection, then, is that Doug is rebuking a group of people (liberals) rather than specific people? What is the functional difference between that and Jesus rebuking the Pharisees? We know there were at least a few Pharisees that didn’t belong to that group.
2. You’re seriously claiming Jesus will lie? “Crooked” is also translated “shrewd” or “tortuous”.

Katecho
Member

So Wilson is guilty for rebuking liberals, and guilty for not rebuking them?  Looks like Wilson is damned by Petersen no matter what he does.  I’m seeing this as a pattern with Matthew.                                                                                                                                                 If Wilson isn’t rebuking anyone, why did they print those posters in Moscow saying, “Idaho is too Great for Hate”?  Seems like somebody at least felt like they were being “oppressed”.                                                                                                                                                 If Wilson was just coddling his listeners, he wouldn’t be naming and warning against all kinds of possible traps and snares of sin that Christians can and have gotten into, particularly from his own… Read more »

timothy
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timothy

Mathew, Do you think that your premises 1 through 7 below lead to your conclusion 8? Please just answer yes or no.  Your argument is below. — Pastor Wilson…..   1. Because of  your use of “they always…” style statements   —     2. Your imputation of motives.   —     3. Your refusal to consider “liberal ends”     —     4. The responses others made to your post.   —   5. Your poisoning of the well via generalizations.   —     6. Your encouragement of others to poison the well.     —… Read more »